Get Rasm essential facts below. View Videos or join the Rasm discussion. Add Rasm to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Early written Arabic used only rasm (in black). Later Arabic added i'j?m diacritics (examples in red) so that consonants letters such as these five letters could be distinguished. Short vowels are indicated by harakat diacritics (examples in blue) which is used in the Qur'an but not in most written Arabic.

Rasm (Arabic: ‎) is an Arabic writing script often used in the early centuries of Classical Arabic literature (7th century - early 11th century AD). Essentially it is the same as today's Arabic script except for the big difference that dots and dashes (the i'j?m pointing) are omitted. In rasm, the five distinct letters are indistinguishable because all the dots are omitted. It is also known as Arabic skeleton script.


In the early Arabic manuscripts that survive today (physical manuscripts dated 7th and 8th centuries AD), one finds dots but "putting dots was in no case compulsory".[1] Some manuscripts have no dots at all, while others add dots only sparingly and only in phrase contexts where the scribe thinks the omission of dotting on a word would leave the meaning ambiguous.

Rasm means 'drawing', 'outline', or 'pattern' in Arabic. When speaking of the Qur'an, it stands for the basic text made of the 18 letters without the Arabic diacritics which mark vowels (tashk?l) and disambiguate consonants (i'j?m).


The Rasm is the oldest part of the Arabic script; it has 18 elements, excluding the ligature of l?m and alif. When isolated and in the final position, the 18 letters are visually distinct. However, in the initial and medial positions, certain letters that are distinct otherwise are not differentiated visually. This results in only 15 visually distinct glyphs each in the initial and medial positions.

Name Final Medial Initial Isolated Rasm
Final Medial Initial Isolated Code point
?alif ? ? ? ? U+0627
B ? ? U+066E
T ?
N?n ? ? U+06BA[a]
Y ? ? U+0649
Alif maqrah ?
m ? ? U+062D
D?l ? ? ? ? U+062F
l ? ?
R ? ? ? ? U+0631
Z?y ? ?
S?n ? ? U+0633
n ?
d ? ? U+0635
d ?
? ? U+0637
?ayn ? ? U+0639
?ayn ?
F ? ? U+06A1
F (Maghrib) / ? / ?
Q?f ? ? U+066F
Q?f (Maghrib) / ? / ?
K?f / ? / ? ? U+06AA
L?m ? ? U+0644
M?m ? ? U+0645
H ? ? U+0647
T marbah ?
W?w ? ? ? ? U+0648
Hamzah ? ? ? ? (None)[b]
  • ^a This character may not display correctly in some fonts. The dot should not appear in all four positional forms and the initial and medial forms should join with following character. In other words the initial and medial forms should look exactly like those of a dotless b while the isolated and final forms should look like those of a dotless n?n.
  • ^b There is no hamzah in rasm writing, including hamzah-on-the-line (i.e., hamzah between letters).

At the time when the i'j?m was optional, letters deliberately lacking the points of i'j?m: ⟨?/?/, ⟨?/d/, ⟨?/r/, ⟨?/s/, ⟨?/s?/, ⟨?/t?/, ⟨?/?/, ⟨?/l/, ⟨?/h/ -- could be marked with a small v-shaped sign above or below the letter, or a semicircle, or a miniature of the letter itself (e.g. a small ? to indicate that the letter in question is ? and not ?), or one or several subscript dots, or a superscript hamza, or a superscript stroke.[2] These signs, collectively known as 'al?m?tu-l-ihm?l, are still occasionally used in modern Arabic calligraphy, either for their original purpose (i.e. marking letters without i'j?m), or often as purely decorative space-fillers. The small ? above the k?f in its final and isolated forms ⟨?  ⟩ was originally 'al?matu-l-ihm?l, but became a permanent part of the letter. Previously this sign could also appear above the medial form of k?f, instead of the stroke on its ascender.[3]

Historical example

Among which Kufic Blue Qur'an and Samarkand Qur?an. The latter is written almost entirely in Kufic rasm: Surah Al-A?araf (7), Ayahs 86 & 87, of the Samarkand Qur'an:

Kufic Quran, sura 7, verses 86-87.jpg
Digital rasm with spaces Digital rasm Fully vocalized
? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ?
? ? ?
? ? ? ?
? ? ? ?
? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ?

Digital examples

Description Example


Short vowel diacritics omitted. This is the style used for most modern secular documents.


All diacritics. This style is used to show pronunciation unambiguously in dictionaries and modern Qurans. Alif Wa?lah (?) is only used in Classical Arabic.


Transliteration al-?abjad?ya? l-?arab?ya?

Compare the Basmala (Arabic: ‎), the beginning verse of the Qurn with all diacritics and with the rasm only. Note that when rasm is written with spaces, spaces do not only occur between words. Within a word, spaces also appear between adjacent letters that are not connected, and this type of rasm is old and not used lately.

Rasm with
spaces [c]
? ? ? ? ?
Text in spaced rasm in font Lateef 2020-03-07 235911.png
Rasm only [c]
Text in rasm in font Lateef 2020-03-07 235813.png
I?j?m and all
diacritics [c]
Text with all diacritics in font Lateef 2020-03-07 235727.png
Basmala Unicode
character U+FDFD
Lateef unicode U+FDFD 2020-03-09 122519.png
Transliteration bi-smi ll?hi r-ra?m?ni r-rami

^c. The sentence may not display correctly in some fonts. It appears as it should if the full Arabic character set from the Arial font is installed; or one of the SIL International [4] fonts Scheherazade[5] or Lateef;[6] or Katibeh.[7]

Examples of Common Phrases

Qur?anic Arabic with I?jam Qur?anic Arabic Rasm Phrase
? In the name of God, the All-Merciful, the Especially-Merciful.
? ? ? ? I seek refuge in God from the pelted Satan.
? ? ? ? ? ? I seek refuge in God, the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing, from the pelted Satan.
? ? Peace be upon you.
? ? ? ? Peace be upon you, as well as the mercy of God and His blessings.
? Glorified is God.
? All praise is due to God.
? There is no deity but God.
? God is greater [than everything].
I seek the forgiveness of God.
? I seek the forgiveness of God and repent to Him.
Glorified are you, O God.
? Glorified is God and by His praise.
? ? ? Glorified is my God, the Great, and by His praise.
? ? Glorified is my God, the Most High, and by His praise.
? ? ? There is no power no strength except from God, the Exalted, the Great.
? ? ? ? There is no god except You, glorified are you! I have indeed been among the wrongdoers.
? ? God is sufficient for us, and He is an excellent Trustee.
? ? ? ? Verily we belong to God, and verily to Him do we return.
? ? ? What God wills will be, and what God does not will, will not be.
? If God wills.
What God wills.
? By the permission of God.
? ? ? ? God reward you [with] goodness.
? God bless you.
? ? On the path of God.
? ? ? ? There is no deity but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God.
? ? ? ? ? ? There is no deity but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God, Ali is the vicegerent of God. (Usually recited by Shia Muslims)
? ? ? ? ? ? ? I bear witness that there is no deity but God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? I bear witness that there is no deity but God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God, and I bear witness that Ali is the vicegerent of God. (Usually recited by Shia Muslims)
? ? O God, bless Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad.
? ? ? ? ? O God, bless Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad, and hasten their alleviation and curse their enemies. (Usually recited by Shia Muslims)
? O God, hasten the alleviation of your vicegerent (i.e. Imam Mahdi), and grant him vitality and victory. (Usually recited by Shia Muslims)
? ? There is no sword but the Zu al-Faqar, and there is no youth but Ali. (Usually recited by Shia Muslims)

See also


  1. ^ "What Are Those Few Dots for? Thoughts on the Orthography of the Qurra Papyri (709-710), the Khurasan Parchments (755-777) and the Inscription of the Jerusalem Dome of the Rock (692)", by Andreas Kaplony, year 2008 in journal Arabica volume 55 pages 91-101.
  2. ^ Gacek, Adam (2009). "Unpointed letters". Arabic Manuscripts: A Vademecum for Readers. BRILL. p. 286. ISBN 90-04-17036-7.
  3. ^ Gacek, Adam (1989). "Technical Practices and Recommendations Recorded by Classical and Post-Classical Arabic Scholars Concerning the Copying and Correction of Manuscripts" (PDF). In Déroche, François (ed.). Les manuscrits du Moyen-Orient: essais de codicologie et de paléographie. Actes du colloque d'Istanbul (Istanbul 26-29 mai 1986). p. 57 (§8. Diacritical marks and vowelisation).
  4. ^ "Arabic Fonts". software.sil.org. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ "Google Fonts: Scheherazade". Google Fonts.
  6. ^ "Google Fonts: Lateef". Google Fonts.
  7. ^ "Google Fonts: Katibeh". Google Fonts.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes